An antidote to my earlier self-indulgent black rant, in no particular order
1. Spending lots of lazy time with my soon-to-be-gone husband and soon-to-be-left-behind child.
2. Lots of reading time. And new books to read.
3. Enjoying F’s excitement on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Leaving a carrot for the reindeer and a cookie, a white wine (in F’s favourite cup), and a candy cane for Santa. And a note, written across the back of three carefully lined up business cards: ‘Dear Santa, have I been good? Write your answer here (arrow pointing to the side) with this texta (arrow pointing below).’ The answer card was topped with ‘Dear F’, with ‘Love Santa’ at the bottom, and a blank space in the middle. My husband wrote Santa’s answer in old-fashioned cursive, so F wouldn’t recognise our handwriting. When F examined it in the morning (‘He left crumbs! He ate it! This PROVES that Santa exists!’), he exclaimed that Santa’s writing was just like his teacher’s.
4. My First iPod – a birthday present from the Husband. I have been mumbling about not needing new-fangled technology to listen to music and consumerism and ‘boy’s toys’ for a while. I didn’t realise until Birthday Morning that I wanted one, too. I went for an hour-long walk with the dogs in the park yesterday with my new toy and I’m determined to keep it up. What a thoughtful and very cool present. Much better than the year he bought me underwear, including a much-hated G-string, for my birthday. (That was, admittedly, In The Beginning.)
5. A very pleasant birthday spent with the Husband in which he thoroughly spoilt me and let me choose everywhere I wanted to eat and everything I wanted to do, while F was playing at his friend’s house. The gelati at Gelo Bar on Lygon Street was a highlight. Simple girl, simple pleasures.
6. Really enjoying F’s company (when he’s not giving me attitude or behaving appallingly with other young’uns). I just like hanging out with him. He’s interesting. He makes surprising observations. He’s affectionate. He makes me laugh. We spent Thursday picking up mail from the post office, sharing brunch at a local café while I told him stories about when he was little and then read to him from his new books (received in the mail), shopping together for groceries and then a backpack for me, lying on my bed eating toast and reading books (me mine, him his), napping in my bed, and then a quite well-behaved play date/sleepover with his younger ‘cousin’ (actually my mother-in-law’s foster child).
7. Going to Adelaide in three weeks, where I will FINALLY catch up with all my family, who I haven’t seen since March. Mum has promised to make me a lemon meringue pie as a belated birthday cake. A week is not really long enough to rotate between four houses (Mum’s, Dad’s, brother’s, sisters’) but it’s something. And I am well aware that I always romanticise my relationship with my family in their absence, yet after a prolonged stay I’m usually ready to head home. One heavily divided week will keep the romance alive …
8. Backyard BBQs with friends that stretch long into the night, with no work to worry about in the morning.
9. Eating two excellent roast dinners in one day (Christmas Day), followed by an intoxicated night of Trivial Pursuit and Christmas lollies at a friend’s house, while F slept over at my mother-in-law’s with his ‘cousin’.
10. Did I mention all the lazy time with my loved ones? And, yes, there is excitement about the impending Big Trip, combined with a sense of unreality. I think that part of me doesn’t believe it will really happen. But the tickets are booked, the job is (nearly) left and F’s extended time with his dad is arranged … I guess that means I’m going!